Adolescence Adolescence is defined as the transition from childhood to adulthood or the psychological, social and emotional changes that accompany puberty
Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory of Development Adolescence: Ages 12-18 (or 20 or 22 or 24) Identity versus role confusion A time for testing limits, for breaking dependent ties, and for establishing a new identity. Major conflicts center on clarification of self-identity, life goals, and life's meaning. Failure to achieve a sense of identity results in role confusion .
Between seven and 11, the brain undergoes a huge spurt of growth of connections just like they were doing around 18 months to two.
Most of this growth is in the temporal lobes and in the parietal lobes.
Temporal Lobes The temporal lobes handle auditory information. But deep down within the temporal lobes is a structure called the hippocampus, and it is responsible for memory. The part of the brain between, seven and 11, that works really efficiently and is growing a lot and developing a lot is the part of the brain that handles memory and shows tremendous growth.
Synaptic Pruning The first change after this synaptic growth spurt is a selective pruning which takes place. In adolescence, most of this pruning is taking place in the frontal lobes. The adolescent loses approximately 3 percent of the gray matter in the frontal lobes.
Red indicates grey matter which is mainly responsible for information processing (neuron bodies).
Blue indicates myelination
These changes may parallel a pruning process that that appears to follow the principle of "use-it-or-lose-it:" neural connections, or synapses, that get exercised are retained, while those that don't are lost.
Researcher Jay Giedd compares this pruning to Michelangelo with a block of marble. He begins to sculpt away until David emerges.
This is precisely what is going on in the adolescent brain, starting around 11. The brain is pruning away, sculpting away excess material, excess connections, to make a more refined, more efficient, more adult brain.
The second change is in myelination; in adolescence, it is not finished. The last part of the brain to myelinate is the frontal lobes. And myelination is not complete in the frontal lobes of the brain until around 18 to 20 or later.
Myelination on a neuron allows it to operate more efficiently.
Variation btwn those still focused on logic & those able to combine logical & abstract thinking.
Some can't think ahead to consequences of their actions.
Dvlp new thinking skills: possibilities, thinking abstractly, thinking about the process of thinking & in multiple dimensions which leads to questioning
Practicing new thinking skills through humor & by arguing with parents and others. Humor focused on satire, sarcasm, and sex
Major broadening of thinking abilities: can think abstractly and hypothetically; discern underlying principles of various phenomena & apply them to new situations; can think about the future, considering many possibilities & logical outcomes. Greater perspective-taking = more empathy & concern of others & new interest in societal issues. See things as relative not absolute
Prefrontal Lobes The last area of the brain to develop is the prefrontal lobes
Resulting Behavioral Change Teens experience a greater desire & need for thrill-seeking than any other age group. Teens tend to exhibit the "it can't happen to me" syndrome also known as the "invincible fable.”
Teens demonstrate a heightened level of self-consciousness.
Teens tend to believe that everyone is as concerned with their thoughts and behaviors as they are. This leads teens to believe that they have an "imaginary audience" of people who are always watching them.